Josh Potter

I leave with Alfonso. The wedding will not wait and our seats may soon be taken. We take the car, my car, the one with the broken window handles. It would be alright if it weren't for the wind, howling in our ears, sweeping our speech, and a tiny nerf ball from the backseat out into the street. We are walking now because we must. Our shoes have yet to fail us, and, wet as they may be, they are impermeable to the wind. We move through the air, down the street, and into the center of town. The crowd does not part for our passing. The people stand where they are. The game must continue. This is understood. "400," the leader cries. A child. The ball, according to custom, is cast up in the air, and, having seen its trajectory through to a gravitational terminus, is caught by another. A child. "522." He is nearly there. From somewhere outside the crowd, another ball is sent aloft, and so another game begins. Then there is another, and another. The balls begin to fall, their point-value unspecified. The crowd, children, give chase. They stagger left and right, tracking the falling projectiles, unsure of what to think, where to go, who is ahead, and why this has not happened before. Alfonso and I make haste. There are nerf balls colliding with all manner of limbs, bouncing in the air, and colliding yet again. By chance, Alfonso retrieves one in his carryall. With luck, we find ourselves alone in a quiet neighborhood. The roof has been lowered and fastened, in light of the coming weather. The tiles have been set, and the grout is now dry. The glass polished, the neon signs humming. The air conditioning is up. Alfonso says it would be quicker to go right inside. And so we enter from the street. The family has set down to take their meal, and so we pass through without the slightest conversation. Through the door, we enter the next house, move through the dark, open the door and enter yet another, identical in every way. In the next house, we must descend an inclined plane and turn a sharp corner. The baby moose, the moosling, seems docile, yet I cower to the floor. I must peer between my fingers to confirm Alfonso's safety. He seems unperturbed. He touches the beast's head and lets it chew on his hand. When it's my turn, I palm the tiny ball, unbeknownst to my companion, and place it upon the moose's tongue. "635." With haste, I enter the next house. Through the front wall, I can see that the procession has begun. I exit to the street and straighten my tattered bow tie. I don't believe in cummerbunds. Everyone has gathered around the kiosk. They wait for me to greet the bride, and so it may begin. The groom is on leave, I'm told. There must be a stand-in. It's an easy job. I put my arm around her shoulder and smile for the cameras. Someone has supplied a mirror so we can check our posture. I can't for the life of me straighten my spine, and know a winner will never emerge.